It happens when we allow ourselves to sit in the throne room and gaze at Holiness and Perfection. The beauty of Christ illuminates the ugliness of our hearts and lives, our motives, actions and behaviors.
Recently I was having a conversation with Rob about how to know when you're giving too much. Giving. Too. Much. Why was I even asking the question?! It came out of an honest place in my heart - not wanting to use our resources in a way that he wasn't in agreement with, not wanting to neglect my first priorities (God, Rob, and our children) because I'm busy doing things with and for other people, not wanting to enable others in my life by being unwise in my interactions (running interference for God), thereby becoming a crutch or band-aid to them in a situation that might need to be hard for a time in order for them to draw nearer to God, etc. But this morning I started to wonder why I really asked him about it, even though the conversation that followed the question was good on so many levels.
I am sensing the Lord peeling back the layers of my heart. And what is underneath is usually not pretty. I am becoming more and more aware of my ugliness. That sin nature that we are ALL born with? It's there. Hiding behind my attempts to whitewash the tomb, and go about pretending that life is good and I am ok. Some of us have figured out how to live with ourselves, convincing ourselves that we're better than most. That we have more good days in which we are kind than not, and we are satisfied. Sort of.
But I'm starting to not be ok with the condition of my heart, even though it has been redeemed. I'm waging war against my sin nature that lures me into thinking that everything is about me. My time, talents, resources, family, activities, how God works (!), what situations I am faced with, my ability to give... these are things I often think I have control over or a right to. My initial response to many things is utterly selfish. It is such an ugly confession, isn't it?
I am ugly.
And while I am acutely aware of the darkness that masquerades around inside of me, I also know that He who is in me (Jesus Christ) is greater than he who is in the world (Satan). I'm so thankful for that. I have been saved from myself by my Savior on the cross. And He promises to continue to transform my heart and my life so that it is a beautiful, albeit imperfect, reflection of His holiness and grace.
It is amazing what I am discovering through this process of brokenness. When I give up my lame attempts to hold on or keep for myself the things I think I desperately want or feel that I need, and instead focus my heart on God and allow Him to change me and focus on others, He moves. He gives me joy that I couldn't have manufactured or taken for myself. He uses me in ways I never thought I could be used. He takes what little I actually have to bring before Him that is of any worth, and multiplies it out to bring blessing to me, my family, and others around me... it's such an abundant life. And to think that I was willing to trade it so many times for a 'better life' that I thought I could create for myself. There is so much freedom here. I desperately want it for you, too... knowing what I do now, in light of where I was before.
Thank you, Lord, that when I am laid bare before you, you see Christ covering over me.